The ongoing crisis at Punjabi University, Patiala, deepened on Tuesday as 14 more senior faculty members resigned from their administrative posts and two key meetings of the syndicate and finance committee were postponed indefinitely in the wake of a tiff between officiating vice-chancellor Ravneet Kaur, a senior IAS officer, and the staff.
Prof Manjit Singh put in his papers as director of the placement cell, Prof Bhupinder Singh Virk as university legal adviser, Jaswinder Singh as coordinator placement cell, Balraj Singh as director incubation centre and Prof Sarbjinder Singh as incharge of the publication bureau.
The meetings were to be held to finalise and approve the budget for the 2021-22 financial year. The varsity had even extended an invitation to the syndicate members 10 days back for a meeting scheduled for Monday, but no agenda was released for the meeting.
Last week, 28 top varsity officials, including the dean of academic affairs, a key member of the syndicate, and the registrar tendered their resignation from their administrative charges.
The Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) is at loggerheads with the officiating V-C over alleged delay in promotions and other administrative issues. Besides, the union has accused Kaur of working in an autocratic manner.
“No one from the V-C’s office informed us of the meeting being cancelled or postponed. We came to know about it from other sources,” a syndicate member said.
Kaur said the meetings were postponed due to the ongoing issues. “Though no decision was taken about rescheduling of the two meetings, they will be held at the earliest. We are making every possible effort to resolve the issues to streamline the working of the varsity,” she said.
PUTA president Nishan Singh Deol said they have called the general house of teachers on Wednesday to decide the next course of action.
“Senior faculty members are putting in their papers to express their resentment against the officiating V-C and the state government for not taking the teachers’ demands seriously,” Deol said.
The bone of contention
The PUTA had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the appointment of Kaur as officiating V-C. The state government had given officiating charge to Kaur on November 25 last year following the resignation of Prof BS Ghuman from the post.
The association has also moved the court against the state government- constituted search committee under the chairmanship of the chief secretary to find a suitable candidate for the job.
Taking up the civil writ petition on February 24, the high court issued notices to the university chancellor, state government, and the officiating V-C.
The next hearing is scheduled on April 19.